Thursday, September 13, 2007
#46 MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Last Season: 25-9 (10-6), beat Davidson then lost to Butler in NCAAs
Key Losses: F Ekene Ibekwe (10.4 ppg/7.8 rpg), G Mike Jones (13.8 ppg), G/F DJ Strawberry (14.9 ppg/4.4 rpg/3.5 apg)
Key Adds: C Braxton Dupree (#16 center), G Adrian Bowie (top 300), F Dino Gregory (top 300), G/F Cliff Tucker (top 300)
The Terps are lead by a stellar 1-2 punch in the backcourt, with sophomores Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes who can each play both guard positions and have good height (Vasquez 6-5, Hayes 6-3). Vazquez put up some very nice numbers last season (9.8 ppg/3.3 rpg/4.6 apg/1.1 steals) and should be the teams all-around best player this season, although he struggles from the outside at times (32% from 3). Hayes isn't as flashy as Vasquez, but has a calming influence when he's running the point that can be needed at times, and can knock down the 3 (39%). Depth will most likely come from freshman Adrian Bowie, who can also play both guard spots.
With Ekene Ibekwe gone, most of the low post burden will fall to James Gist, but he may be ready for a breakout year. Gist has increased his scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, steals, and FT shooting every year he has played, and now will be the go-to guy for the Terps. Even in the loaded ACC, Gist will have a good shot at all-conference.
Next to Gist on the block will be 6-8 monster Bambale "Boom" Osby, a physical freak who doesn't put up the most impressive statline, but knows how to handle himself. Top recruit Braxton Dupree will also be in the mix right away, and may end up with a starting position by the end of the season.
The wing looks to be a competition between incoming freshman Cliff Tucker and sophomore Landon Milbourne, who didn't see much of the court last year (77 total minutes in 16 games.) Expect Tucker to take the job.
Maryland definitely has some interesting pieces, it's up to them to put it all together. The three seniors they lost will hurt, but this team should be in the mix for an NCAA berth.